Cupping therapy is an ancient Chinese form of alternative
medicine in which a local suction is created on the skin;
practitioners believe this mobilizes blood flow in order to promCuote healing.
Suction is created using heat (fire) or mechanical devices (hand or electrical
There are various types of cupping therapy, including:
。Dry cupping (suction only) 。Wet cupping (combination of suction and controlled medicinal
During both types of cupping, a flammable substance such as
alcohol, herbs, or paper is placed in a cup and set on fire. As the fire goes
out, the cup is placed upside down on the patient's skin.
As the air inside the cup cools, it creates a vacuum. This
causes the skin to rise and redden as blood vessels expand. The cup is generally
left in place for five to 10 minutes.
A more modern version of cupping uses a rubber pump to create
the vacuum inside the cup. Sometimes practitioners use medical-grade silicone
cups. These are pliable enough to be moved from place to place on the skin and
produce a massage-like effect.
During wet cupping, a mild suction is created using a cup that
is left in place for about three minutes. The practitioner then removes the cup
and uses a small scalpel to make superficial skin incisions. Then he or she
performs a second suction to draw out a small quantity of blood.
After the procedure, the site may be covered with an antibiotic
ointment and bandage to prevent infection. The skin's appearance generally
returns to normal within 10 days.
Cupping therapy supporters believe that wet cupping removes
harmful substances and toxins from the body to promote healing.
cupping therapy is used to treat:
- Blood disorders such as anemia and hemophilia.
- Rheumatic diseases such as arthritis and fibromyalgia.
- Fertility and gynecological disorders.
- Skin problems such as eczema and acne.
- High blood pressure (hypertension).
- Anxiety and depression.
- Bronchial congestion caused by allergies and asthma.
- Varicose veins.
Side Effects of Cupping Therapy Cupping is considered to be relatively safe, especially when performed by trained health professionals. Potential side effects include:
- Mild discomfort
- Skin infection
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Traditional Chinese herbal medicine draws on ancient practices -- herbal medicine is as old as humanity itself. Early human beings were hunter-gatherers whose survival depended on their knowledge of their environment. Direct experience taught them which plants were toxic, which ones imparted strength and sustained life, and which had special healing qualities.
These early discoveries were passed along until thousands of years and millions of human trials brought about the evolution of an incredibly sophisticated system of diagnosis and herbal medicine.
Thousands of medicinal substances are used in China today. Indeed, more than a million tons of herbs are used each year in China.
This information may seem astonishing to the minds of Westerners, who see herbal medicine as a new development in healing. From a practical perspective, however, a fairly complete pharmacy stocks about 450 different individual herbs.
From this collection of herbs, a clinical herbalist employs more than 250 standard formulas, each of which can be modified to fit a patient's individual pattern of disharmony. The herbalist or practitioner combines herbs based on the diagnosis, using a traditional herbal formula as a foundation and adding other herbs specific to the individual's complaint and constitution.
As the person's health improves, the nature of the imbalance changes, so the herb formula must also change. Some herbs are deleted when they are no longer needed, while others more appropriate to the changing condition are added.